Friday, November 30, 2007

seniors + teens = a winning combinations

Old Bridge library unites generations
Home News Tribune Online 11/26/07
OLD BRIDGE — You're never too old to rock out.

Seniors, alongside teenage volunteers, tested their mettle in the ubiquitous air-guitar video game and various other games available for the Nintendo Wii gaming system as the first step in the library's plan to make seniors more technologically proficient and to include them in what Allan Kleiman, assistant director of the Old Bridge Public Library, called the inevitable redesign of libraries.

I love the idea of doing a program like this, especially as we explore new ways to use technologies and give teens meaningful and fun volunteer opportunities in our libraries.

I Used to Believe...

If you’re looking for an easy bulletin board idea that’s fun for teens, this one has been very popular at Maryville. I put up the words “I used to believe…” on a plain background, set out blank construction paper circles with a bunch of colored sharpie and waited for responses. You might want to put up a couple samples so people get the idea, but we get several responses in our box each day, so it won’t take long to fill your board.

It’s not uncommon to see groups of teens gathered by the board reading what’s already up there and adding their own. The responses have been as different as teens are…Here are some of my favorites!
• I used to believe that the library was only for research.
• That the library was boring…but it’s not—it’s Awesome!
• I use 2 believe that graduating would be fun, but now I’m scared—Class of “08”
• That having a little brother would be cool
• That it would be awesome when my older sisters would move out (its not)
• That we would be best friends forever. Then you moved away.
• That if I forgot to tie my shoes my feet would fall off.
• Elected officials in the United States Government worked for the people who elected them, not for themselves.
• That if I wished hard enough, I could go into the TV.
• That if you plant Skittles a rainbow would come out
• My sister was an Alien.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lack of sleep is impacting teens

Snooze or Lose Overstimulated, overscheduled kids are getting at least an hour’s less sleep than they need, a deficiency that, new research reveals, has the power to set their cognitive abilities back years. By Po Bronson
New York Magazine

Apparently getting more sleep improves learning, reduces traffic accidents, and might possibly lower childhood obesity.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Keeping up with Asian pop culture

I've found two great sources in my quest to learn more about Asian pop culture...

Giant Robot - print magazine and website highlighting visual arts, music, literature, and the famous names in Asian pop culture

PingMag - Tokyo based e-zine "About Design and Making Things!"

I've been looking through Issue 50 of Giant Robot, and it could be worth considering for out teen magazine collection.

Game Boys - portraits of gamers

This is a interesting and lovely collection of portraits of teen boys playing video games...a subject rarely commented upon for its beauty.

Game Boys
March/April 2007 Issue of Mother Jones
Photo Essay by Shauna Frischkorn

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

not the same old song and dance

The game Rock Band was realeased today making headlines not just in video game publications, but in the financial pages as well.

Rock Band ushers in a more social level of gaming. Built along the lines of Guitar Hero, Rock Band allows players to take part in other aspects of being in a band, adding vocals and drums to bass and guitar. Four players can play songs cooperatively as well as play dress up with their virtual rocker buying outfits and changing hair, accessories, and makeup.

Not only does this mean expanded participation during gaming events (as 4 can play off one console instead of just one or two players) but teens can create virtual rock and roll identities, which even this librarian found addictive.

While only hardcore gamers may be aware of Rock Band's release, once word begins to spread I see it becoming a gaming phenomenon making Guitar Hero yesterday's news.

Online petition in support of school libraries

As described in this morning's SEATTLE TIMES, the Legislature is being petitioned to strengthen the standards for schools and provide for school/teacher librarians as mandated staff in the Basic Education Act.

World-Class Education for Washington: Support School Libraries & Information Technology

boot camp for Internet addicts?

In Korea, a Boot Camp Cure for Web Obsession
By Martin Fackler
Published: November 18, 2007

Compulsive Internet use has been identified as a mental health issue in other countries, including the United States. However, it may be a particularly acute problem in South Korea because of the country’s nearly universal Internet access. It has become a national issue here in recent years, as users started dropping dead from exhaustion after playing online games for days on end. A growing number of students have skipped school to stay online, shockingly self-destructive behavior in this intensely competitive society.
“I don’t have a problem,” Chang-hoon said in an interview three days after starting the camp. “Seventeen hours a day online is fine.”

I wonder how long it will take for this to reach the States?

Friday, November 16, 2007

bans on hugging?

I've read articles recently about how hugging has become trendy among teens. This comes as a surprise to me, for I didn't know it had ever been out of fashion. Many of the teens I've worked with are affectionate and hugging seems to be a natural, warm and fairly innocent way to connect with others.

So I was surprised to see that schools are putting bans on hugging, and punishing teens who hug. What is the world coming to? Here is some commentary on the issue that I feel is pretty right on.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

How do you make safe social networking?

Apparently, by fingerprinting young girls to prove they are who they say they are:

Anne's Diary is the
first biometrically-secured social networking site for children in the world. The site offers girls in grades 1 to 8 (ages 6 to 14) a secure environment in which to keep a private diary and communicate with their peers around the world. Members can also enter contests, play games, participate in book clubs and receive homework help.

What do you think of that?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

teen benefits of being online

A refreshingly positive article about teens on the Internet, emphasizing that there is such thing as being too safe...which limit's teens' participation and what they can get out of the net.

Benefits Of Online Interaction For Teens Outweigh Danger, Professor Says

“the first line of defense should be teens themselves. Increasingly, tech-savvy adolescents are aware of the risks in online socializing and are developing their own strategies for staying safe in cyberspace.”


YALSA avatar contest

YALSA is sponsoring a Create Your Own Avatar Contest! Create an avatar that shows off how you can use your library's technology offerings in a creative way, and you can win $100 worth of books and materials from YALSA! Contest open to YALSA members and attendees of Gaming Night. For official rules and an entry form, please download the Create Your Own Avatar Contest Guidelines (PDF).

Even if you aren't planning on participating in this contest, I encourage you to play with some avatar technology...rather than using staff pictures on our new teen website, I think avatars are the way to go. See how Nashville Public used them on their teen site. I asked, and they said they used meez.

Have fun!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

new book featuring writing of teen girls

Salon has an article featuring 4 short stories from the new collection Red: The Next Generation of American Writers -- Teenage Girls -- on What Fires Up Their Lives Today. Looks like a very interesting and frank collection with lots to consider. I'm intrigued.

Monday, November 5, 2007

MTV survey on happiness

MTV Research: The Future of Happiness

What makes 12–24 year olds happy? That was the topic of a study that MTV commissioned Social Technologies to conduct earlier this year. The findings, which hit the newswires on August 20, 2007, surprised many.

“We knew friends and technology would be important to this demographic, but going in we also had the preconceived notion that 12 to 24 year olds were slightly indifferent, self-serving, and perhaps even a bit apathetic,” explains Andy Hines, Social Technologies’ director of custom projects, who led the study. “The biggest thing we learned was never to judge a book by its cover.”

Well, I guess that is a big step for a lot of people, to get around stereotypes of teens. I'm fascinated by the fact that MTV chose this topic to study. It seems to me to be a very positive approach to learning more about youth culture and hopes. I look forward to hearing more about this, and if anything useful comes of it.